How It Works

Like a teacher's red pen, our advisers will show you all your missteps and lead the way to a better writing.

Find Help Online

Necessary hints for you: how to write a short story essay


A critical analysis means you must search for the hidden meaning inside of a story. You must decide what hidden message was contained in the story you are reading and support your decision with examples from the text.

Step 1:

It all begins with deciding what you think the meaning is. You should take a moment to reflect on the short story until you can state in a single sentence what you think the meaning is. Because of the selective number of characters and the brevity, many short stories try to evoke one emotional response in the reader. So what was the point made by the author? What single emotion was struck in you? If there are multiple meanings, select the one that you feel is most important for this essay.

Step 2:

Now you need to analyze the literary elements in the story. Study the theme of the story, the characters in the story, the setting for the story, as well as the plot, any conflict that arises in the story, the tone of the writing, the point of view of the story, and any irony. Study all of these elements in search of clues as to how the author made their point.

  • Ask yourself if there are any character flaws that are easily related to by the readers.
  • Ask yourself if there is conflict that arises through misunderstanding.
  • Ask yourself who narrates the story and how this perspective alters events.
  • Ask yourself how any irony in the story relates to the meaning.

Step 3:

Integrate quotes from your story that support the thesis you made. It is best to point out to the reader passages from the text that showcase the meaning of the story as it unravels. For example, one character might be manipulative. You can use dialogue from the story where the character assumes they know what is best for the other characters. Then you can continue with the same example and show that the message is that people who attempt to control everyone around them tend to be the most easily manipulated themselves, using quotes from the text to support this.

Once you conclude, restate the ideas you presented in your essay in a summary paragraph at the end. Wrap it all up by repeating the meaning of your short story in a single sentence.



© TheRedPen.org | The best advice on essay writing is here